Council prez wants to stop politics - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Council prez wants to stop politics

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Toledo City Council has elected a new president to serve during what could be a contentious election year. 

New council president Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) is not seen as particularly political which could help her lead a body that's often at odds with the mayor.

She was elected Tuesday to take over the seat vacated by fellow councilman Joe McNamara (D) who is running for mayor.

Hicks-Hudson is a Democrat and her party wants to beat independent Mayor Mike Bell in the fall...

But on her first day in her new office, she said taxpayers are tired of partisanship, telling 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "They don't want the bickering.  They want solutions.  They want answers to the pressing problems that face us."

Toledo city council has several strong personalities, and Joe McNamara is running for mayor,
so keeping the lid on politics may not be easy.

Councilman Mike Craig (D) says tension between the legislative and executive branches comes naturally. "The administration wants what they want; we want what we want and that creates some tension."  he says.

Former council president Rob Ludeman (R) knows about that tension and he understands council's agenda can sometimes be at odds with itself.

"I likened it to herding cats because everybody's got a different agenda," Ludeman told 13abc.  "It's the council president's job to pull those ends together."

Important issues will come up for debate and council members don't always agree on how to move forward but council has to overcome that tension.

Republican council member George Sarantou believes the 12-member council can work together, even during a political year. "There is not a Republican or Democratic way to pave the streets or make sure you got enough police and fire personal and that's why we've got to continue to work very hard on these issues."

Hicks-Hudson's is a quiet leadership style and that calm demeanor may be what council needs right now.  That could help members communicate better with each other and with the administration.

"We were elected to make decisions that benefit all of the citizens and that's important for us to do," she insists.

Paula Hicks-Hudson is the seventh council president in five years.

She says there is no plan to remove Republican council members from their committee chairman seats because she wants to keep that continuity.

And that could help council govern well during what could be a contentious political campaign.

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